14 best air fryers of 2023, tested and top-rated by our reviews experts
Air fryers use hot air instead of oil, so are healthier than deep-fat fryers, and more versatile and energy efficient for cooking smaller quantities than ovens. Discover our experts’ tried-and-tested favourites
This guide is regularly updated with new models that have been tried, tested and top-rated by BBC Good Food’s reviews experts. Those featuring earned it based on their performance during rigorous, impartial product testing. Included is a selection of new releases and firm favourites that continuously hold their position against new brand models. We will only ever feature air fryers that prove to be good value for money.
Air fryers have surged in popularity in recent months. Hugely versatile, they work by circulating hot air to create a ‘fried’ finish on food, using little to no oil. Because of their compact size and ability to heat up quickly, they’re also typically more energy efficient than a standard oven for cooking smaller quantities, which could save you money on your electricity bills.
Most air fryer models are small enough to keep out on your worktop (depending on the size of your kitchen), with others offering space-saving features, such as cord storage. As for what you can cook with them, air fryer chicken breasts, halloumi, doughnuts, buffalo cauliflower wings and, of course, air fried chips can all be made using air crisp functions.
They often do a lot more than just air frying – look for models that offer additional presets, such as reheat, bake, roast, dehydrate and grill, plus specific ingredients like bacon, sausages, steak, fish, or even desserts.
New to the world of air fryers are dual drawer air fryer models, which are designed to cook different dishes on different functions in sync, or rotisserie fryers for that supermarket chicken and chips experience at home.
- Explore our full collection of air fryer recipes.
BBC Good Food’s expert reviews team has been reviewing air fryers for four years, and regularly tests new models to ensure we’re bringing you the most up-to-date recommendations of the best air fryers to spend your money on.
So, whether you’re shopping for your first air fryer, you’ve just bought one or have had yours for a while, you’ll find everything you need within our ultimate air fryers guide: from recommendations to find the best model for you, to tips, tricks and inspiration, plus how to care for your air fryer.
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When we review air fryers, each model goes through several tests: making chips, roasting chicken, grilling halloumi and aubergine, and even baking cake, where possible, to test all functions. Evenly browned chips with a crisp exterior and good flavour before seasoning are what we look for from each model tested.
The air fryer models are also scored against standardised criteria, awarded a star rating out of five from the average score, and given a ‘best for’ label to help you find the best air fryer for your budget and home. Read more about how we test air fryers.
Visit our reviews section and discover more than 600 practical buyer’s guides offering unbiased advice on what equipment is worth investing in. Find everything from counter-top appliances, such as the best food processors and best toasters, through to larger white goods like the best microwaves and best dishwashers.
Air fryer stock levels are currently fluctuating across many brands and retailers. Our team is tracking availability and updating this page regularly to help you find our tried-and-tested favourite models.
All costs-to-run calculations were done against the variable tariff at the time of testing (31.8p/kWh), which may have since changed – read more on the current energy price guarantee rates.
Best air fryers 2023 at a glance
- Best air fryer for quick baking: Ninja Air Fryer Max 5.2L, £169.99
- Best rotisserie air fryer for chips: Breville Halo Rotisserie Air Fryer Oven, £140.97
- Best dual-draw air fryer: Instant Vortex Plus Dual Air Fryer, £150
- Best for cooking a complete meal in one: Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer, £219.99
- Best blow-out multifunctional air fryer: Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer, £199
- Best multi-tasking air fryer: Sage the Smart Oven air fryer, £329.95
Best of the rest
- Best WiFi-enabled air fryer: Cosori Air Fryer Lite 3.8L, £99.99
- Best air fryer with grill attachment: Tefal EasyFry Precision 2-in-1 Air Fryer and Grill, £89.99
- Best air fryer for all-round even cooking without shaking: Cosori Dual Blaze 6.4L Smart air fryer, £159.99
- Best affordable dual-draw air fryer: Salter Dual Cook Pro 8.2L air fryer, £126.99
- Best large capacity air fryer for affordability: Cosori Pro 5.5-litre air fryer, £109.99
- Best air fryer for versatility: Tefal ActiFry Genius 2-in-1 air fryer, £249
- Best air fryer for small households: Magic Bullet 2.5-litre air fryer, £69.99
- Best air fryer for large households: HySapientia air fryer oven, £169.99
Jump to section:
- What types of air fryers are there?
- The best air fryer to buy in 2023
- How to choose the best air fryer
- Are air fryers energy efficient?
- Are air fryers worth it?
- Is air frying healthy?
- What can you make in an air fryer?
- How we tested air fryers
- What to consider when buying an air fryer
- How to convert recipes for an air fryer
- What not to cook in an air fryer
What type of air fryers are there?
- Basket style with heating elements: tall, slim air fryers feature a main unit with heating elements and fans. These have slide-out baskets or trays that slot into place inside. As they tend to have a smaller cooking area than oven-style fryers, in testing we found even results were more likely if the cooking was paused occasionally to rearrange or toss the food around. Some fryers will cut out automatically when you do this, some will need to be paused if you want accurate timings.
- Rotisserie air fryers: these are designed to produce evenly browned but moist cooked chickens, roasted much quicker than in the oven. Plus, thanks to the nifty interior lights, they're a real crowd-pleaser for entertaining. Chip rotisserie baskets toss raw potatoes within these that allow heat to reach every nook and cranny for a crisp finish.
- ‘Mini oven’ types: these models use convection or fan technology to cook food on flat, slide-in trays. As well as roasting, their extra air frying functions circulate hot air around the food for more efficient crisping. These took up the space of an average-sized microwave. Some may also include rotisserie elements.
- Interior paddles: The Tefal model we looked at has an interior paddle – its stirring motion keeping the food moving around a doughnut-shaped tray. Unlike ‘basket’ models, the oil stayed in the pan rather than draining away, so sauces, rice or even casserole-type recipes could be used here.
What is the best air fryer?
Ninja AF160UK Air Fryer Max 5.2L
Best air fryer for quick baking
- Circular tray design
- Non-stick tray with silicone corner protection
- Might not fit under low countertop cupboards
Star rating: 5/5
Most air fryers are multifunctional but not all extend their practicality to usable baking functions. This model‘s round, non-stick, pull-out tray lends itself well to baking cakes. Ninja is great as a brand at plastering its packaging in clear, easy to read instructions. The box itself explains all options: max crisp, air fry, bake, reheat and dehydrate but, if you’re too excited to bother, a comprehensive quick-start guide and instruction booklet will do the same.
The controls are labelled and textured. It also emits a loud beep mid-cook if you need to shake the contents. The 5.2 litre capacity tray has nice high sides that allows room for cakes to rise and small whole chickens to roast. Drawers can be put in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. For a smaller option, the Ninja 3.8L AF100UK air fryer was awarded 4/5 stars by our reviews team. Read our full Ninja AF160UK Air Fryer Max review.
Breville Halo Rotisserie Air Fryer Oven
Best rotisserie air fryer for chips
- Interior light for watching rotisserie
- Evenly browned chips with crisp exteriors
- Perfectly cooked small chicken
- Rotisserie fork for handling hot elements safely
- Large countertop footprint
- Heat released from the top
Star rating: 5/5
If you have the space on your countertop for another boxy appliance, Breville’s latest air fryer is a statement multifunctional gadget that, when on, will draw attention from across the room. It holds a small, trussed chicken (to keep its wings and legs neatly tucked in) for easy rotisserie and includes a chip basket for keeping chipped potatoes moving for even crisping.
The rotisserie function must be manually switched on, which may be confusing if you only skim-read the instruction manual. Once activated, you can turn on the internal light for checking in on its contents. One thing about crowd-pleasers is they generate the desire in people to press their nose up to the glass. After 55 minutes, this model’s glass front panel and exterior was warm but not dangerously hot, which is a tick in the safety box for adults and kids. Read our full Breville Halo Rotisserie Air Fryer review.
Instant Vortex Plus Dual air fryer
Best dual-drawer air fryer
- Two interior lights
- Progress bar indicates pre-heat and cooking time
- Clear notifications to shake food
- Awkwardly-sized drawers for fitting a separate dish for baking
Star rating: 5/5
Our first impressions of the Instant Vortex Plus were positive. The control panel is touchscreen, which gives the model a sleek, minimalistic look when turned off and at 40cm across, its footprint on the countertop wasn’t as chunky as others we’ve tested.
The two drawers have a 3.8L capacity each and a 7.6L capacity overall, which is a good size for cooking a main and side for up to six. We liked the adaptability of the Sync functions: SyncCook meant we were able to cook the same thing in both baskets at the same time, while the SyncFinish program allowed us to cook two different things on different functions but set the same finish time for plating up.
The chicken legs we roasted were juicy inside and evenly cooked, while the chips in the next drawer required a little more attention with shakes mid-cook, but had a good crisp finish on the outside. Depending on your recipe, it’s also possible to select degrees C or Fahrenheit.
Read our full Instant Vortex Plus Dual air fryer review.
Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer
Best for cooking a complete meal in one
- Cooks large quantities
- Two independent cooking zones
- Easy touchscreen
- Quality build
- Non-stick tray
- Programmable for different foods to finish simultaneously
- The sync function takes a few attempts
- Large footprint
Wattage: 1200W (one drawer), 2400W (two drawers)
Star rating: 5/5
This Ninja air fryer stood out to us for several reasons – the first being its fully recyclable packaging, which was a huge plus, not to mention we were able to use the appliance almost straight out the box. Its appearance is particularly striking too, and we were fans of the sleek matte finish and bright, easy-to-use touchscreen.
Despite its large footprint and some initial difficulty with the match and sync functions, which allow you to finish cooking different foods at the same time, we were able to master the controls fairly quickly. The cooking results, too, were excellent – both thick and thin-cut air-fried chips were a success, as was a deliciously crisp duck breast, which cooked at 180C for just 15 minutes. This air fryer scored highly on efficiency and value, too. Read our full Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer review.
Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer
Best blow-out multifunctional air fryer
- Zero-oil air crisping
- Leave-in digital cooking probe
- Recipe booklet catering for gluten-free, diary free, keto and vegetarian diets
- Hot underneath
- Chunky footprint
Star rating: 5/5
This is both a pricey and chunky investment purchase that looks more like a pizza oven than an air fryer. However, for the quality of components and cooking results it’s great value for money offering roast, bake, grill and dehydrate functions in addition to air frying.
You always get a good recipe booklet with Ninja products. The one accompanying this product focusses on its grill and air frying features but there’s a comprehensive cooking guide for everything in the box. It’s particularly adapted for roasting meat joints. The integrated digital thermometer meant the gadget alerted us when the whole chicken was full cooked, preventing it from being over-done.
Requiring zero oil, the chips were well-sealed and soft inside. Its grill function didn’t disappoint when it came to grid cooking and, if you like a traybake, cakes are ready in 25 minutes.
Read our full Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer review.
Sage the Smart Oven Air Fryer
Best multi-tasking air fryer
- Large capacity
- Most preset options
Star rating: 5/5
Think of this smart little stainless steel appliance as a new permanent fixture in the kitchen, and watch as you start using it in place of your main oven more and more.
It would be a lifesaver for Christmas and parties, a winner for small kitchens, or a good option for Aga and range cooker owners who don’t want to ‘fire up the beast’ for the sake of a chicken kiev.
Offering pre-sets and functions that can tackle anything from a crumpet or chips to slow-cooked casseroles, it’s so much more than an air fryer.
Sage uses technology that combines a supercharged convection heater with air frying to really crisp things up. This reaches one of the hottest settings of any of the models we look at here, with a top temperature of 230 degrees, making for chip perfection.
As with the full Sage range, a premium price delivers a top-notch product, and the stainless steel finish, nicely-weighted door and inner trays make this a quality piece that's worth the money.
Read our full Sage Smart Oven air fryer review.
Cosori Air Fryer Lite 3.8L
Best WiFi-enabled air fryer
- Cord storage
- Tactile handle
- Easy-to-remove grill tray
- Digital countdown on display after one minute
- WiFi connectivity
- Preset times and temperatures a little off
Star rating: 4.5/5
This is the smallest air fryer in the Cosori collection. It’s equipped with a 3.8L capacity – ideal for 1-3 portions – and takes up very little space on the kitchen counter.
It’s a smart looking machine with flat, touchscreen controls on the hood, tactile accents on the handle and useful cord storage at the back. It’s sturdy and robust, with aesthetically considered finishes.
There are five presets for food (chicken, fries, bacon, steak, veggies), plus keep warm and preheat settings. All test recipes were well cooked: crisp and even results with consistent browning. But both the preset times and temperatures are higher and longer than they need to be, so we recommend reducing the cooking time and temperatures slightly to avoid any overcooking or burning.
This model is also WiFi-compatible via the VeSync app. Set-up was easy; the app guides you through every step. Although we struggled to find any real need for the app (setting the air fryer to go takes very little time), it is useful to be able to check how much time is left from afar and for the bank of Cosori recipes it houses. Cost to run for 10 minutes: 2.2p.
Read the full Cosori Air Fryer Lite 3.8L review.
Tefal EasyFry Precision 2-in-1 air fryer and grill
Best air fryer with grill attachment
- Cost efficient to run
- Intuitive touchscreen controls
- Large capacity without being too bulky
- Two-year guarantee
- Some packaging is non-recyclable
- No printed manual included
- Smaller food can fall through the grill
Star rating: 4.5/5
As medium-capacity air fryers go, this model from Tefal is impressively slimline with an attractive stainless steel body and brushed plastic base. It comes with a robust die-cast metal grill that slots easily into the basket and heats quickly, promising to give crisp results with 99% less added fat than other classic air fryers on the market.
Among the eight presets are chips, meat, fish, vegetables, nuggets, roast chicken, pizza, and desserts, plus manual air fryer and grill options. The touchscreen was also a breeze to navigate and could easily be mastered without the manual. This goes someway to explaining why this air fryer doesn’t come with printed instructions, though an online guide can be found via a QR code on the side of the box.
We found the browning to be a little inconsistent when air frying salmon and chicken breasts, and our aubergine – while flavoursome – lacked the restaurant-style grill marks we were hoping for. We did achieve attractive grill marks when cooking halloumi, however, and our chips were perfectly sealed and crunchy. Cost to run for 10 minutes: 2.9p.
Read our full Tefal EasyFry Precision air fryer and grill review.
Cosori Dual Blaze Smart Air Fryer
Best air fryer for all-round even cooking without shaking
- Great price for the quality of build
- Even cooking
- No shaking needed while cooking
- Easy to set up
- Can be operated through a smartphone
- Non-recyclable packaging
- Cannot be switched on remotely
Star rating: 4.5/5
What really sets this Cosori air fryer apart is its clever technology – the patented dual heating elements allow for even browning on both sides, so no shaking or stirring is required as you cook. Plus, it uses 360 ThermoIQ technology and thicker pure aluminium baskets, to help food cook more quickly.
We loved its tall, compact design and simple touchscreen, which displays 12 cooking functions – from chicken, steak and seafood, to vegetables and fries. There’s also a handy 44-page recipe filled with tips and ideas for those new to air frying. You can operate it from a smartphone too, which is a fun bonus, though for safety reasons it has to be switched on manually.
It was hard to resist the temptation to peek at our first batch of chips as they cooked inside the Dual Blaze, but the dual heating element really impressed us, turning out evenly crisp golden fries and perfectly cooked thick-cut chips. Read our full Cosori Dual Blaze smart air fryer review.
Salter Dual Cook Pro 8.2L Air Fryer
- Available from Currys (£138)
Best budget dual-drawer air fryer
- Sync program for cooking two dishes at the same time
- Temperature pause and resume function
- 12 cooking programs
- The manual wasn’t clear at explaining some of the functions
Star rating: 4.5/5
Dual air fryers can be a real nuisance thanks to their large size. One of the reasons we loved this model is that it doesn’t dominate the countertop, despite its practical 8.2 litre capacity. The two drawers are a good solution for quickly cooking core parts of a meal at the same time, and in less time than in a traditional oven.
Once prepped, ingredients can be left to cook in synchronicity on different functions. We set a small chicken in one drawer and raw chipped potatoes in another to cook thanks to practical depth and only needed to shake the chips midway, leaving you free to continue with other cooking tasks.
One of our only irks was the navigation of selecting your function and the ambiguity of some of the function icons. The instruction manual could be clearer in this respect. However, thankfully the set-up is intuitive.
Read our full Salter Dual Cook Pro air fryer review.
Cosori Pro 5.5-litre Air Fryer
Best large capacity air fryer for affordability
- Dishwasher-safe components
- BPA-free and PFOA-free
- Very hot air released out of one vent at the top
Star rating: 4.5/5
The Cosori was one of the best-looking air fryers we tested. Its boxy, matte design is sleek enough to be left out on the countertop. But luckily it’s not just style over substance – this model has 11 preset options, a 5.5-litre capacity that cooked four good portions of fries in one go and a 1.8kg chicken easily with room around it. If you’re going for a 2.7kg chicken, we’d recommend spatch-cocking it before adding to the basket due to the relatively shallow depth of the trays.
The model enthusiastically reminds you to shake its contents during cooking so even if your kitchen is a busy one, you’re unlikely to miss its reminders. When on manual function, the temperatures can be adapted from 75 degrees for lower, slower cooking and timings are adjustable from 1-60 minutes.
Chips for two people were evenly browned using the preset having been pre-tossed in 1 tbsp of oil, although they were not super crisp. Quantities for four took two-rounds of preset cooking. The baskets were thrown in the dishwasher for easy clean-up – a great benefit. Read our full Cosori Pro 5.5-litre air fryer review.
Tefal ActiFry Genius XL 2-in-1 air fryer
Best air fryer for versatility
- Versatile multi-dish cooking
- Takes a lot of space up on the countertop
Star rating: 4.5/5
The distinctive dome of the Tefal ActiFry has evolved into this multi-level cooker, which can be programmed to remind you when to add different menu components.
Other fryers have baskets that allow the fat to drain away – not this one. Any oil will collect on the doughnut-shaped tray at the bottom, with a central paddle that turns, to ensure food is slowly coated in the oil.
You can get amazingly good results with very little oil, so it’s still far healthier than deep frying or even baking on a sheet in the oven, where more fat is needed to cover the surface.
Another container for the likes of meat or fragile fish fillets can then be added over the central stalk, to double up cooking space. And you can see it all through a giant window so don’t have to lose heat by opening the lid to check on progress.
Although it took a bit of exploration with the manual, the pre-sets and settings are easy to use when you get the hang of the touch controls.
Read our full Tefal Genius ActiFry 2-in-1 air fryer review.
Magic Bullet 2.5-litre air fryer
Best for small households on a budget
- Small and simple to use
- Great for small households
- Easy to set up
- Hard to get the precise time for cooking
Star rating: 4/5
If it’s a simple, fuss-free air fryer you’re looking for, this might just be the one for you – this model from Magic Bullet is a solid, compact choice that’s incredibly easy to use, without compromising on quality.
We found the build to be excellent for the price, which makes this model great value for money. It also runs very quietly – this is all the more impressive when you realise just how quickly it heats up.
Though relatively small, the Magic Bullet fry pot has ample space for a small household, with a 2.5-litre capacity that can cook a decent-sized portion of chips, vegetables, burgers or sausages.
At just under 38cm, it neatly slotted in and out of the cupboard and drawer without any problems, too. That said, it’s good-looking enough that you could easily keep it on the counter.
The only difficulty we had was with the timer knob, which had small markings that were difficult to line up. Still, this didn’t impact the cooking results, and our thin and thick-cut chips came out beautifully, with a good texture and even colour. Read our full Magic Bullet air fryer review.
HySapientia 24-litre air fryer oven
Best air fryer for large households
- Clear, intuitive controls
- Lots of accessories included
- Large capacity
- Lightweight for its size
- Large footprint
- Excessive non-recyclable packaging
- Expensive to run
Star rating: 4/5
With a 24-litre capacity, this HySapientia model is certainly one of the largest air fryers we've tested – making it an ideal choice for households of four or five. Its three-tiered cooking system can handle just under 1kg of fries or a 2.5kg chicken, and because it comes with so many accessories, it's also hugely versatile.
Among the attachments are a rotisserie and fetch rack, an air fryer basket, an oven rack, a baking tray and a small pair of silicone oven mitts. There's also a handy crumb tray that has a lip all the way around to prevent any mess escaping when you lift it out.
While its controls are intuitive, it's noisy, and the loud dinging noise that sounds as you switch through the presets can be a little jarring. We were also disappointed with the packaging, which was mostly made from plastic and seemed excessive.
On the plus side, this air fryer produced evenly golden chips that were well sealed and didn't need to be shaken or turned over half-way through. Our halloumi fries were flavoursome, sporting a crisp outer layer and stretchy texture.
Other air fryers tested and rated
- Cosori Pro 4.7L air fryer, £93.49
- Zwilling air fryer, £97.99
- Tower Vortex 5-in-1 11-litre air fryer, £129.99
- Philips Avance air fryer XXL, £284.05
- Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer, £99.76
- Princess air fryer and dehydrator, £176.67
How to choose the best air fryer
Air fryers differ in size and versatility, so it’s worth considering the following while you do your research.
- What would you like to cook in it?
- How many people are you cooking for?
- How much space do you have?
- What is your budget?
- Do you have a specific requirement for ease-of-use? For example, large, clear function icons and controls, or perhaps an audible indicator for when each function has finished?
If it’s simply a healthier, more efficient method of cooking chips that you’re after, you can narrow your search down to one without bells and whistles, and save some pennies on a machine that does the core function well.
Top tip: Watch out for those that will require you to part-boil the cut potatoes prior to crisping – air fryers worth having should be able to fully cook chips on their own.
Are air fryers energy efficient?
Air fryers vary in their energy efficiency, but it is possible to calculate how much energy an appliance will use, which in turn will help you cost up the impact it’ll have on your bills. Here’s how:
Take the appliance’s wattage and multiply it by the gadget’s hours of use per day, then divide the total by 1000. The result will be the appliance’s daily kilowatt-hour (kWh).
The cost per kilowatt-hour will vary depending on your energy tariff and area. If you have a smart meter installed at home, you’ll be able to see the cost per use during cooking without having to calculate it.
One of the many useful qualities of air fryers is the countertop size. These gadgets are much faster to heat up and designed to circulate hot air efficiently, meaning food can be cooked much quicker than in a traditional oven. For smaller quantities and specific ingredients, air fryers will be switched on for considerably less time, which equates to less electricity consumption.
Are air fryers worth it?
If you’re wondering whether air fryers are really worth it, we think the primary perk of owning one is convenience. Like any kitchen gadget, you want something that’s going to make life simpler, and there’s no doubt that frying and baking conventionally can be messy, smelly and even dangerous.
Using an air fryer to bake, roast and fry will speed up the process, and can potentially cut calories and save money as you won’t have to use a larger oven for smaller portions and side dishes.
Think of air fryers as mini ovens that can tackle almost anything you’d put in a conventional oven or deep-fat fryer. They’re not just for chips: you can bake, roast and even dehydrate ingredients, too.
Is air frying healthy?
In comparison to deep-fat frying, air frying is a healthier alternative – using convection cooking rather than oil means there's less fat in the finished food, which in turn means fewer calories. However, air frying does have some negatives, so it should be considered as part of a balanced diet. Read more about the health credentials of air fryers in our guide – is air frying healthy?
What can you cook in an air fryer?
Recipe-wise, air fryers are an excellent tool for not only knocking up traditional favourites, but aiding you in experimentation. The humble spud is a great starting point. As we mention above, it’s possible to achieve a similar texture and flavour of traditional fried delights with an air-crisp function for air-fried chips and air-fried roast potatoes using considerably less oil. The same applies to coated foods from which you’d like a crisp outer, like breadcrumbs. Discover our collection of air-fryer recipes for a bit of inspiration for veggies and air-fried chicken.
On mid-range models, baking functions are often an option with non-stick accessories. This opens the door to thrifty bakes, classic cake recipes as well as free-from options to fit those with dietary requirements. Fruit leather is an excellent way to make the most of a dehydrate function if you have a hand blender, blender or food processor at home, or for an umami-kick try dehydrating tomatoes or mushrooms.
How we tested air fryers
What is the first thing you think of when you consider air fryers? Chips, of course, so our homemade fries test was crucial.
The key to crisp fries was to peel and soak the potatoes in cold water for half an hour to remove starch, before drying thoroughly. We used Maris Piper potatoes for all.
We looked at the manuals for each model and followed their directions for cooking temperature, time and the quantity of oil needed. If the type of oil wasn’t specified, then we used vegetable.
Anything from the size of the cut to the variety of potato can make a difference here, so it’s always good to gauge things halfway through the time. But for the purpose of the test, we shook ingredients only when prompted too and scored the appliance based on its performance.
We tested the air fryers using set criteria and scored each one on the following core areas out of five. The average of all determined the overall star rating they achieved:
Quality of food
To ensure fairness, we initially cooked chips in every fryer we tested. We looked at how evenly they ‘fried’ and whether they were brown and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Ease of use
No-one wants to resort to a YouTube video to work out how to use a new gadget. We looked for fryers with clear, simple instructions, so we could get them out of the box and cooking our dinner as quickly as possible. Fryers also scored highly if the icons or control buttons were easy to use and intuitive.
Value for money
Some of our cheaper fryers made excellent fries without a big price tag. We looked at whether the fryers were worth the price.
Ease of cleaning
Some air fryer baskets are dishwasher safe or coated with a non-stick surface. Read our guide to how to clean an air fryer.
Quality of materials
We checked that every component of the air fryer was built to last and able to withstand regular use.
What to consider when buying an air fryer
Think of your individual requirements before investing. You may want to consider the following:
Manual or digital
The simplest air fryers come with manual knobs that you twist to set the time and temperature. You may prefer a digital version, where you press buttons to set this, and can see the remaining time digitally displayed.
Choice of pre-set programmes
Do you like to choose your own temperature and how long to cook things for, or would you prefer to leave all that to the machine? Some of our fryers had up to nine pre-set programmes for popular foods like chips and, bizarrely, shrimps.
It took between 17 and 30 minutes to cook chips in our samples, so this might be a factor. Some models need preheating, but only for a few minutes (much less than an oven).
Always check the size as the capacity varies enormously – important if you’re feeding the masses or just want dinner for one. But bigger isn’t always better. Some take up more space on the kitchen surface and if you’re going to keep it in a cupboard, check the dimensions; some are sizeable beasts.
Transparent lid or internal light
Some models have a see-through lid so you can glance in and check your chips are browning well. With others, you have to open the basket to check, stopping the machine. The transparent ones tend to be a feature on more expensive machines, so you need to decide how important this is to you.
With most air fryers, you need to shake your chips halfway through cooking (or more often if you want to see how they are getting on). Some fryers have clever devices built in to turn the food for you. Again, these tend to be the more expensive models, but this could a factor to consider if you want to go off and leave your dinner to cook itself.
You’ll need to wash the basket and pan after use. Some need to be hand-washed, while others are dishwasher-proof. (The main parts of the machine should just be wiped with a cloth.)
Air fryers vary hugely in price – our tested models varied from £39.99 to £300.
How to convert recipes for an air fryer
If you want to adapt a recipe for air frying, BBC Good Food’s food copy editor Samuel Goldsmith recommends reducing the cooking time by 20%. To do this, simply multiply the original time by 0.8 – the result will give you the amended cooking time.
For instance, where a recipe calls for 20 minutes of cooking: 20 x 0.8 = 16, so the reduced cooking time is 16 minutes.
“That said, if you’ve recently bought an air fryer, I would advise trialling the times and temperatures first as each model varies in size,” says Samuel.
What not to cook in an air fryer
Air fryers are generally very versatile, but there are certain ingredients you should avoid air frying for safety reasons, like popcorn and sauce-based dishes. Some recipes are better suited to other gadgets, like steamers, rice cookers or microwaves.
Read our full guide on what not to cook in an air fryer, plus recipe developer Ailsa Burt’s top air frying tips.
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